Like a rv, a boat is designed to utilize as much space as possible, squeezing in storage while leaving sufficient room to move around. Every nook and cranny will have some sort of use. But don’t expect to be able to hang pictures or other knick knack nonsense in your floating home. What you carry on the boat will boil down to two categories: stuff for the boat, and stuff for you.
A typical vessel like the Fritter will have some sort of the following set up. There is storage forward under the v-berth, more under the quarter berths, (these are the combination couch/bed that you will spend a lot of time on, a few cabinets and drawers in the galley area, a hanging locker, (no, that is not where I keep the ex girlfriend), and then depending on the layout, more storage aft under the cockpit and around the engine room. It may sound like a lot but live aboards are for the most part, pack rats. They fill up every available space with more useless crap than they need. The boat I owned before the Fritter was full of junk. I threw out a dozen or more big trash bags filled with things like 8 track tapes, broken fans, and stuff that was so rusted out it could no longer be identified. The Fritter was not so bad. I did find a bag of ladies shoes, some xmas decorations, and two bags of shot glasses. No hidden treasures on this boat.
You would think that the lack of space would convince people to get rid of stuff rather than try to cram it onboard. I had to get rid of an old fashioned tv, one of those heavy bastards. All it did was take up what little counter space I had in the galley and since I don’t watch anyways, no sense in keeping it. Anyways, as I walk around the marina I see a lot of other vessels just crammed full of stuff. One in particular, a beautiful old wooden ketch complete with a mermaid figure head on the bow, had the cockpit chock full of boxes and plastic bins. Who knows what the owner keeps in there. It’s a shame as it’s a beautiful old boat. When I get a chance I’ll post some photos of it. But, the bottom line is, space on a vessel, no matter what the size, is at a premium so you best be careful what you bring aboard.
What I have: The Fritter is set up pretty simple. There is the v-berth storage along with an overhead shelf. Both quarter berths have storage under neath and a small forward bench has a small storage area. The galley has two cabinets. The head has another small cabinet and very small medicine cabinet. But the nice thing is since the Fritter was built without a motor, there is a large area under the cockpit, almost enough room for me to fit in. And under both benches aft some more storage. No hanging locker which makes the wardrobe a bit of an issue. No drawers for little things, and a lot of the storage is taken up by things like sails, line, and batteries.
What I want: Actually, rather than want or need more storage, I simply adapt to what I have. When your wardrobe is only 30 items it’s not a big deal to find a place for everything. I can rig up a pole or line if I want to hang shirts up but for now, It’s no big deal. I’m still settling in and trying to find places for any little things I still have. The computer and iphone sit on top of the ice box to charge for now because that is where the power come in. In the center of the cabin is the cover for the swing keel which also doubles as a table. I moved the pads from both the quarter berths onto one to be more comfortable and use the other for the fridge and cat dishes. I can always pick up some sort of hanging thing to stick on the little bit of wall space I have if needed. So all in all, being a minimalist helps to keep the clutter down.
Reality: A goodly portion of the storage will have to be dedicated to boat stuff. Things that are needed to keep the Fritter in sea worthy condition. What is left is what I will have for my personal gear. The big storage area under the cockpit contains a sail and what looks like a small inflatable dinghy, not a real boat, more like a kid’s toy. I will drag it out one day and see what I got. In the stern I have a couple batteries and some other misc. goodies. Access to the rear from the cabin is easy as I don’t have anything in the head. But when I add in a toilet that will complicate matters.
As long as I don’t revert to pack rat, the Fritter has more than enough room for me , the cats, and my few worldly possessions. As I add more stuff for the boat the space will shrink so I am trying to make sure I have sufficient room for boat stuff and my stuff. Right now it’s all cluttered and looks a mess. But after a few months of moving, sorting, and room for everything, the Fritter should like pretty nice….just kidding. I’m a slob. It will always look cluttered and a mess. It’s my boat, my rules, my way of living.